Williams named Community Player of the Month
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs prop Harry Williams was today acclaimed by his Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, after being named the Gallagher Community Player of the Month.
With Gallagher Premiership Rugby currently suspended, there wasn’t any rugby action to allow our expert judging panel to select their Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month.
But there’s certainly been no shortage of inspiring social and community stories emerging across the country during lockdown.
So, together with our partner Gallagher, we renamed our award as the Gallagher Community Player of the Month – to find the Premiership player who has had the made the biggest social contribution to their local community in April.
Nominations produced a four-strong shortlist of inspiring stories that Gallagher and Premiership Rugby then put to the public vote. Those on the shortlist alongside Williams were Bath Rugby’s Rhys Webb, Harlequins full-back Mike Brown and Saracens hooker Jamie George.
Williams emerged as the winner from a fans’ poll grabbing 44% of the votes as hundreds of supporters applauded the individual actions of the players who are delivering real and meaningful difference across the country.
The Exeter Chiefs prop won the Award after taking part in the #MakeThatCall initiative which was started by Wasps and taken on by several Premiership clubs to become a nationwide success, while Williams also brought the local community together with a very funny live Bake Off with supporters where they could make an Orange Drizzle Cake with him. At the same time, he answered questions from fans about lockdown life, his rugby career, GBBO and much more.
"It's important in these testing times that the Exeter Chiefs continue to play an active role within the local community. Although there is no rugby for us to enjoy currently, it doesn't mean that the players and staff can't give back to those who support us throughout the season,” said Director of Rugby Baxter.
"For me, it's fantastic to see all of our players helping to lift the spirits of our supporters, whether it's through the excellent Make That Call campaign, social media posts or, in Harry's case, a bit of baking!"
- A shirt signed by all the players from his club, which he is donating to Balloons, a bereavement charity that provides support for children, young people and their families
- A donation from Gallagher to the Exeter Foodbank
- The Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month trophy
Praising Williams for his positivity and pro-active approach was Gallagher ambassador and Rugby World Cup winner, Nolli Waterman, who said: “The lockdown has meant a time for huge upheaval for many, but has also highlighted the positive side of human nature – including looking out for the vulnerable, checking on the isolated and helping the less fortunate. Harry’s efforts to keep spirits up in these challenging circumstances makes him a well-deserved winner of our second Gallagher Community Player of the Month award – having really gone the extra mile to make an off-pitch contribution to the community while play is suspended.
“Regular followers of the Exeter Chiefs will know how much of a fan Harry is of The Great British Bake-Off – and his hilarious tribute to the show on Instagram Live really brought a smile to all of those viewers across the rugby community who tuned in, as well as showcasing his impressive culinary skills.
“I’ve been blown away by the efforts of our four nominated finalists this month – and their teammates across the Gallagher Premiership – in brightening the spirits of so many people in their local communities. From charitable donations, engagement with local charities or acts of goodwill, our players have gone above and beyond to give back to their communities, and to connect with their fans during these challenging times.”
Everyone at Premiership Rugby and Gallagher has been inspired to see the way our clubs and their players have responded in a time of national crisis with their work in the community. There were so many great stories just coming up with a shortlist of four was difficult enough.
Winners in the 2019-20 season
April – Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
March – Jamal Ford-Robinson (Gloucester Rugby)
February – Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears)
January – Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)
December - Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby)
November – Tom O’Flaherty (Exeter Chiefs)